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Sutton, Clerc to try again in Malaysia

Chris Sutton (Garmin, left) came very close to victory and will try again in the remaining sprints

Chris Sutton (Garmin, left) came very close to victory and will try again in the remaining sprints (Image credit: Bruno Bade)

By Greg Johnson in Senawang, Malaysia

After missing out on victory at the Tour de Langkawi's opening stage, top sprinters Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) and Aurélien Clerc (AG2R La Mondiale) have both vowed to try again on Tuesday. The pair was beaten to the first stage win, and leader's yellow jersey, by Diquigiovanni-Androni's Mattia Gavazzi.

"We've still got more stages to come and the boys are great," said Sutton. "They just kept a high tempo, so nobody was just bombing off the front."

Clerc, the event's defending sprint champion, snapped his chain during the sprint on Monday's stage. The mechanical problem took him out of contention for the stage win, and also hampered Sutton's efforts as the Australian had been on the Swiss rider's wheel.

"It's never good for the head when you have a problem like this, because you know you are in front and it's not your fault," said Clerc. "But we will see. I think there are five more stages where it's possible to come in a sprint, so we will see tomorrow."

Sutton was full of praise for teammate and countryman Cameron Meyer, who looked after him in the closing kilometres. The Malaysian race is just Meyer's second road race as a professional, having debuted at the Tour Down Under with Garmin-Slipstream last month.

"Cameron Meyer did his last little job towards the end, Cam was a big part," said Sutton. "Cam's supposed to sort of get me to five kilometres to go and then get out of there because it's pretty hectic, but he did more than what he is supposed to do, which is great for me. He gave me a free run."

"We will try and win a stage or two," said Sutton. "We'll see what happens, I guess."

Both Sutton and Clerc, who are two of the event's top sprinters, were exhausted at the end of today's stage. The 133.8-kilometre stage saw temperatures reach 36 degrees centigrade, with a high level of humidity.

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